Fracture Clinics

I don’t like fracture clinics. (*Warning. Tirade coming.)

They were behind by 2 hours today. So many people! And they wondered why Michael looked so tired and withdrawn when they finally saw him. The doctor and nurses were quite kind. I’m sure they’re frustrated by all the people and harsh parents.

I suppose I’m miffed about the lack of information we received. And when I ask for it, there’s an attitude I get that I can’t quite explain. Sort of like… “ya, it’s hard, but you have to figure it out just like everyone else”. They did spend some time showing Michael how he should be using crutches. I’ve been trying to figure out how to get him down the steps and into the car for days now (Reid’s usually around to lift him, but not today). We figured it out, but Michael was pretty apprehensive. (After complaining that I had so little information, they have me a sheet of paper showing how to manage with a cast. Michael took one look at it and thew it back at me. The explanations for going up steps tell you to bend your knee. Ya, right.)

What got to me was the nurse who insisted he could lift his leg. She told me I do too much for him. At least the doctor acknowledged it’s going to be very hard for him to lift because his leg is so long, and it’s all plaster. (Too bad the nurse wasn’t there to hear it.)

When I pulled up to the hospital, I got a wheelchair for Michael. I tried to put his leg into the attachment that would keep it raised, but there was a metal foot rest in the way. I fumbled and fumbled, but couldn’t get him comfortable. All the weight of his cast was on this little metal foot rest at his ankle. I ended up having to wheel him in to find someone, who fumbled like I did for a while until we figured out a way to swing it out of the way (you had to tilt the leg support thingy, which otherwise prevents the foot rest from swinging.) All the while, Michael was extremely uncomfortable.

On the way home, we swung by a mom-and-pop home care shop to rent a wheelchair. What a different experience. They spent lots of time showing us how the wheelchair worked. They charged us a good deal less than Shopper’s Drug Mart, and even said we wouldn’t have to pay until we brought it back (we paid anyway). They said not to worry about it if we keep it for an extra week.

I’m so glad to have come across sweet people like that. Makes up for the rest of the day!

Michael’s Broken Leg

As most of my friends know… Michael broke his leg while skiing with his school last Wednesday. This was a double whammy for us as we were set to leave for a 1 week vacation at a resort in the Dominican Republic. Michael’s doing ok, considering.

Personally, I didn’t realize how much of a toll it was taking on me. I think I crashed when I got back to work on Friday afternoon – suddenly realizing the impact this is going to have on us.

They didn’t set Michael’s leg until Friday morning. We had a 7:30 am appointment, and they weren’t done until noon. (They give you so little information beforehand!! I didn’t even know it wasn’t set!) They explained that they’d give him a drug to relax him (it was a little ominous when his doctor added “..so he won’t remember what happened”) It was funny when the drug started to take affect. “Wow. This feels great. Gee, I like these guys. I just love them”, “Why, Michael??”, “Because they gave me this stuff. I really like it”. Oh great.

I’m glad he doesn’t remember them setting it. (I hope one leg isn’t going to be longer than the other) He’s quite a brave kid.

His doctor explained that it will take 3 months for the leg to heal, and he won’t be able to put any weight on it. His cast covers his whole leg, from hip to foot, and he’ll wear it for about 6 weeks. They’ll replace it with a half-leg cast for the following 6 weeks. The cast is extremely heavy, and he can’t lift it himself. He can walk on crutches, but it’ll take a little while for him to be a little more independent. At present, he’s living on the couch: he eats, and sleeps there. After a while, he may be able to go up and down the stairs, but it’ll be on his bum. (I think he’ll always need help going down, someone will have to hold his leg up as he slides down.) Goodbye bunk bed!

He’ll be home all week next week, and I’m hoping he might be able to go to school the next week. Someone will have to drive him back and forth (I suppose that will be me!). I think the school was a little more prepared than I was. They’re already making plans to transfer him to a home room on the main floor, where he can participate in most classes. They’ll have to have runners bringing him his work for the remaining, upper floor classes (like math).

Funny, I had actually wanted to prevent him from going that day, thinking of our upcoming trip. I remember watching him go out the door that morning, feeling a little worried. I never felt that way during his other ski trips. (I had begun to realize that during every single ski trip with the school last year and this, someone has gotten hurt. Last Wednesday, 4 children had to be brought to the hospital.)

As Ronnie’s been somewhat upset (between seeing Michael this way, and with the cancelled trip), David was kind enough to console him with kind words: “Too bad Michael didn’t land on his head, he would have been okay, right?” 😀 Brought smiles to both Ronnie, and Michael. (Look out David: Michael will no doubt have some choice come-backs waiting, but I know you can hold your own!)

Inherited Colour Blindness

This is a picture of my dad and Ronnie, taken just before Christmas. The two of them are colour blind: Ronnie to a small degree, my father: well, I don’t know, but I suspect a whole lot more severely.

We found out that Ronnie is slightly colour blind after Reid asked an optician to check. I seem to remember Ronnie having a little bit of trouble when he was quite young with colours, but I didn’t make much of it. Reid must have suspected something more. The optician told us it was inherited, and thought that the maternal grandfather must be colour blind as well. I finally remembered to print out some colour blind tests, like the one here, when we last went to Thorold.

Thinking that a print out might not capture the colours well enough to test my dad, I tested Ronnie with them first. He couldn’t see some of the numbers on the plates. My dad, however, couldn’t see ANY of the numbers. Even the first one, 12, that says everyone should be able to see it. At one point, when I turned over the page, my dad yelled out “21”! He had seen the number in shades of grey through the back of the paper. Well, that ruled out his claim that his glasses weren’t very good (after all, the numbers were over an inch high!)

This was intriguing. How convenient — look at the shirt he was wearing! I had asked him if he could see a difference in traffic lights, and he said of course: red is on the top. (Hah!) I asked him to point to red on his shirt, and he did it correctly. But then I asked him to point to green, and he pointed to the white lines which run between the squares. (The white lines were actually slightly saturated with red.) I suppose my earlier comment about him looking like Christmas made no sense to him.

I asked him what colour my somewhat-faded blue-jeans were, and he told me they were lots of colours. When I asked him to be specific, he said white… and then a little hesitantly, green. Green?!?! Eek. My mother said: well, you know, he doesn’t pay attention to colours. I tried to explain to her that it’s not that he doesn’t pay attention, he can’t see them as we do.

My father is 77 years old. I’m 41. And I’ve only just found out that he’s colour blind. Obviously, it’s not slight colour blindness. Suddenly, a wave of understanding descended. This is why he’s been driving my mother crazy over the years, and he couldn’t understand why she goes nuts when he dresses himself. She has to lay out all his clothes. He thinks she’s nuts, and picky for no reason. She thinks he’s a slob who couldn’t care less about his appearance. What a riot!